DAN BOOKHAM

Holiday festivals require holiday spirit of volunteering and donations

Posted Oct. 28, 2011, at 6:38 p.m.

As we tip into November there’s no escaping the fact that the holidays are approaching. For me, the various celebrations in our local towns serve to highlight how lucky we are to live in such community-minded places, bursting with generosity, volunteerism and creativity.

It almost goes without saying that to stage these celebrations there’s always a need for volunteers, donations and participation, so this week indulge me as I share some opportunities to get involved with you:

• Rockland’s Festival of Lights Celebration is seeking parade participants. Does your group, business or organization want to have a float in Rockland’s Festival of Lights parade on Nov. 26? Or would you like to help out? Volunteers are needed for all festival activities. For a float application or to inquire about volunteering email festivaloflightsrockland@gmail.com or Elise.Bell@bangor.com — and keep those floats intact for the Camden Christmas by the Sea parade the next week. For other information on the Festival of Lights, contact Lorain at Rockland Main Street, lorain@rocklandmainstreet.com or 593-6093.

• During the Festival of Lights, the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce will hold its 32nd annual Festival of Lights Craft Fair 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. We want to fill the Knox County Ballroom and the State of Maine Hall with unique artisans, gifts and craftspeople selling authentic Maine-made items. If you would like more information on how to become part of this great holiday event, contact Alicia Bagnall at the Chamber office, 236-4404 or abagnall@camdenme.org.

• The next weekend will see the towns of Camden, Rockport and Lincolnville celebrating the 25th anniversary of Christmas by the Sea — with fireworks at the Camden tree lighting on Friday, Dec. 2. Here’s why I suggested you keep those Festival of Lights floats intact — as Christmas by the Sea rolls through Camden, businesses, nonprofits and groups are invited to enter a float and be part of the fun. For more information on participating contact Alicia in Camden at 236-4404 or abagnall@camdenme.org.

• Finally, the big ask. The help of the community is needed to raise $800 in order to ensure that Camden’s Christmas tree will shine brightly from Harbor Park during the 2011 holiday season.

While the tree itself is donated by West Bay Rotary, there are costs associated with siting, raising, lighting and maintaining the tree throughout the holidays and removing it afterward — special care is needed due, in part, to its position in a park that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. To help keep the tree lit and shining, send your contributions of any size, as every little bit helps, to: Alicia Bagnall, Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce. P.O. Box 919, Camden 04843. Mark your check “Christmas Tree.” Or make a contribution by credit or debit card by calling Alicia at 236-4404 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.

We could allow the shortest days of the year to arrive in the dark, or we could join together to shine a light of celebration at a time when holiday cheer goes a long way. Help however you can to keep the holidays shining.

Dan Bookham is the executive director of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce that combines the Camden-Rockport-Lincolnville and Rockland-Thomaston Area Chambers of Commerce. Contact him at 236-4404 or dbookham@camdenme.org.

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